How to Save Energy (read: Money) in your Apartment

I recently went on vacation and rented an apartment in Barcelona, Spain (thus the hiatus.)

It seems like reducing energy expenditure is also cool in Spain. This made me think about how to save energy (money) in a Chicago apartments.

Heating and cooling:

There was a sign that said “Save Energy to the Planet!” gently reminding tenants to make sure their air conditioners or heaters were off before they left the apartment.

-When you leave either for a day or a week in the winter, turn the heat down to 62 (but no lower). Use ceiling fans to keep the heat from rising in the winter, and use them along with air conditioning in the summer.


There was a washing machine, but no dryer. A clothesline with thoughtfully included clothespins was strung across our balcony.

-Use the air to dry clothes and dishes. In the winter, the air is usually drier, so yea, no humidifier, and you’ll save energy. In the summer, there’s nothing like the smell of sun dried clothing.


Also, the shower seemed to be designed so that you’d either get wet or wash yourself, not both at the same time. You get wet, turn off the water until you were done lathering/washing, and only turn it back on until it was time to rinse off.

-Here, landlords always pay the water bill, but you’re paying to heat it up. Save by using warm water instead of hot to wash clothes, and by making showers Spanish or just shorter.

Other cheats:

-Rent a newer apartment. Chances are, it will have newer, Energy Star appliances and newer windows. Also, windows and doors won’t have shifted as much with age. On the other hand, large floor to ceiling windows that let in great views can also let out heat. If you rent vintage, plug the little cracks below doors and windows.

-Live on the top floor and absorb everyone else’s heat.

Get a pet and snuggle with it to avoid turning up the heat.

-If you’re really intense about saving energy, be less concerned with hygiene: sweat on yourself to keep cool in the summer, wear all your clothes in the winter to not turn up the heat. Save water by showering less frequently. You’ll save water, energy, and time.

I hope these tips have helped, and that you pay no attention to the last one.

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One thought on “How to Save Energy (read: Money) in your Apartment

  1. […] this may be a reaction to being annoyed with the expenses of having a car or an urge to leave a smaller carbon footprint, but mostly I think it’s addiction to feeling smug of passing a long line of cars in the bike […]

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